Case Studies for a Genetics Unit: A Review

I recently went through the Case Studies on that amazing National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science website, and I scoured it for case studies that I could potentially use in my genetics unit for 9th grade biology. Here’s what I found:

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Forensics Day 4

Could today have gone any better? I think not.

Morning: We started off the day with a visit from an FBI Special Agent who did demos with footprint casting, metallic latent fingerprint powder, blood collection, and blue light analysis, all sprinkled between his amazing stories about the crimes that he’s helped to analyze. It was neat to see the kids who had been “turned off” up until then finally get that light going in their eyes and see that the stuff we talk about in class is all relatable to the real world.

Afternoon: We then moved onto Ballistics in which we started off by talking about which kinds of guns there are out there and which kinds of bullets they emit, and then we did a “Where’s the Shooter?” Lab in which they needed to determine where the shooter was based on the height and size of the bullet hole (I had been handy with a drill and bored holes into blocks of wood.

Note for next time: do a mini-lesson on trig before this! There’s a lot of climbing and tracing strings (to demo the bullet path) in this lab, but there’s also some trig in calculating the angles and the length of the sides of a triangle to determine which shooter was responsible for the gunshot, and a lot of students looked relatively clueless (it must have been that winter break…).